OTTAWA: The federal capital is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River facing the French-speaking city of Hull in Québec. The imposing Gothic-style Parliament Buildings overlook the confluence of the Ottawa, Rideau and Gatineau Rivers and are surmounted by the 92m (302ft) Peace Tower, affording a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Guided tours are available. The colourful Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place here daily in July and August. Confederation Square, site of the National War Memorial, is the focal point of downtown Ottawa. The National Arts Centre, a hexagonal complex on the banks of the Rideau Canal, houses an opera company, theatres, studios and restaurants. The Rideau Canal and the Rideau-Trent-Severn Waterway are part of a complex of recreational lakes and canals linking Ottawa to Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. Outstanding among the city's many museums are the National Art Gallery, the National Museum of Science and Technology and the Museum of Civilisation.
Gatineau Park, an 88,000-acre wilderness area, is only a 15-minute drive north of Parliament Hill. Southeast of the city, Upper Canada Village is a reconstructed 19th-century town consisting of historic buildings salvaged from threatened sites on the St Lawrence Seaway.